Grey is the new black
I walked out of the sanctuary, and just as I anticipated someone asked me, “So what’s going on with your head/hair?” “What are you doing?” I turned right around to an attractively attired sister in the Lord that I regard as my friend and said, “I’m letting my hair grow exactly as you see it”. And in my mind, I said, there’s nothing wrong with that. She kind of chuckled and said, “I can’t. Just the other day my daughter told me that I needed to stop dying my hair and I told her I can’t. I’m not ready to show my grey hairs just yet.”
Her answer is typical of many women her age today, and I’m fine with that. To each his/her own. I ain’t mad at her because I must admit that not too long ago I was thinking and saying the same thing. I’ve been told that I look younger than my age and I wanted my hair to reflect that. I still do but it has become increasingly challenging to keep my grey hairs in check. I would henna them and in less than two weeks they would begin sneakily peeking out again.
To make it worst, almost a year ago I decided to return to my natural roots, which requires a lot more care than when my hair was relaxed. Therefore, a typical wash day, when I have to also color my roots become a mammoth task that results in my many times putting off the whole production until I can gather the gumption to spend a whole day with my hair.
The reason I anticipated someone making a comment about my hair, especially after church, is because
- It’s the one place where you will get noticed because you have to sit still for so long with the possibility of being featured in a video frame being very high
- I had gotten a friend to cornrow my hair the day before, therefore the different hues of my hair were very visible
- There is at least one person in that congregation that would feel comfortable enough with me to point out the obvious
I am a realist and I am practical to a t. Although the gravitational pull towards what I know to be the sensible thing to do may take a while to manifest, eventually it does manifest. I love to look good and as pulled together as the next person, but I am also a low-maintenance kind of gal. For me being fashionable and trendy cannot trump sensible and comfortable. So, it may be the fashionable thing to dye your hair because you appear to look better with black hair, but what about the cost in time and money to do that every two weeks?
In my case, ‘I’ve given up the ghost’ at this time in my life because I know I’ll be fighting a losing battle if I continue. I began going grey in my 30’s and it was not a slow progression like it is for some people. Also, I started to grey at the front of my head while some people either go ‘salt and pepper’ (which is beautiful to me) or they have a patch. I would have loved a patch because its funky looking.
Some persons have said that you go grey because you’ve had stress in your life. Others say that it has to do with your nutrition and even proport that it can be reversed by changing the diet. For me, I’ve gone grey because its hereditary. I saw my paternal grandmother when she was in her 50s and her thick, long plaits were a beautiful shade of salt and pepper. I also saw my dad, whom I resemble very much, began to go grey around the same age. Over the years I witnessed his beard eventually growing all white like that of Santa Clause and it too was, at the time, beautiful.
I believe as we get to a certain stage in life, that we need to make peace with the things that we cannot change. That is what I’ve done. I have been doing some growing for the past couple of years and greying hair has been one of the latest ‘happenings’ that I have decided to embrace. A lot of times we do things because of what we think others will feel, think or even say. For me, the time for that frame of mind has expired. I will do what is right and pleasing to me. If God is happy with me, then I am happy with me.
In our culture, most women I know, even well into their 60s and 70s, and at a time when it should be an honour to flaunt their grey hairs, still color their roots. Many like me feel that grey hair ‘pulls their face down”. Others, like me again, look younger than their age and they prefer to keep everyone guessing. Even among ourselves as women we make comments that would seem to discourage the appearance of growing older because to us it is unattractive.
On the other hand, men are called distinguished when they begin to grey. They are regarded as silver foxes and younger women are drawn to them especially if they are also taking care of themselves. But why the disparity in the way that the sexes are perceived as it pertains to greying hair? Is it all in our heads? Why aren’t we embracing what is naturally happening as part of our journey? And let’s not even talk about who is benefiting from our need to appear younger than we are.
As always, let us go to the one place that has an answer for any and every question we may have. In Psalm 139:14 where David spoke about God knowing us before we were born, here is what he also said,
“…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” I receive that.
And the kicker is found in Proverbs 20:29,
“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head” and Proverbs 16:31, “The hoary (grey or white with or as if with age) head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” Amen to that.
Isn’t that something? I rest my case.
So, I will speak to us ladies because we seem to be the ones who struggle most with growing grey. If the Creator of the Universe and the One who also created us values our grey/hoary hair/head, why are we allowing ourselves to be pressured by society, friends and loved ones to despise it? Why are we succumbing to a culture that drives us to dishonour what He obviously honours?
Listen to what He is saying to us.
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4). Whoah!! I’ll take that any day.
Well my sister friend, if you haven’t gotten to the point where you can accept the inevitable, I do have some very good henna that I’m willing to part with. Drop me a line and they are yours. As for me, this is what I have to say.
“World, here I come with my hoary, crowning glory.”